A Journey Towards A Rolemodel


Darrell Bernard during his years of college football in Mexico state.

By Magdiel Gamez, Writer

   Many journeys have similarities as we face the same struggles in life, but that is how role models are born and inspire the younger generations to improve on how they experience their journey.  


His Childhood 

    Born on October 23, 1980, in Miami, Florida, Mr. Darrell Bernard, or more commonly known as Coach Bernard, began his journey towards the future role model he is today. In his childhood, he was raised with both parents and 5 brothers in the same household. The household overall was Christian, and it was a large enough household to raise all six Bernard brothers.  

   Young Darrell never went hungry, always had clothes on his back, food was on the table, and his parents always gave positive advice whenever he needed it for his upbringing. Respect was the best word to describe this relationship, and that inspires our Miami High Coach today. 


His Days of Education 

     As time passed, he went on to school, which further built his personality and will. Being an athlete all his life, sports greatly influenced him around 3rd grade in W. Little River elementary school in Pinewood, Florida, when he was introduced to football, and basketball at 4th grade. He had a regular life as an elementary student, with big Thanksgiving feasts, Easter Egg Hunts, and friends from a variety of different races considering it was a mixed school. 

    After his fun days in W. Little River, he attended Miami’s Madison Middle in 6th grade, where he learned more about who he wanted to be. That all began by running track as a 6th grader, a new sport he could enjoy. He grew in many ways.  

   “Middle was more of a difference than elementary because throughout my middle school, puberty hit me,” he said. “I was getting older and wiser, just learning to know myself and know what I wanted was one huge milestone. Middle school was also a steppingstone to set the foundation for me succeed as an athlete.” 

   In 9th grade, he went to Miami Central.  It was a regular year for him as not much activity happened other than regular schoolwork and grades. He felt Miami Central was a little dull, so he later transferred to Hialeah High for his 10-12th grade years. Unlike his previous high school, it was a better experience as it felt more like a college environment.  

  Throughout 10th – 12th  grades, most of his teachers were hands-on, very outgoing, and most of his coaches were his teachers. He has no complaints about high school since there was a lot of freedom throughout Hialeah High. 

    After graduating from Hialeah High, he earned an athletic scholarship to New Mexico State University. At this point of time, being an athlete was second nature for Darrell. “Leaving Miami and going to the other side of the country taught me how to speak proper English, because here in Miami we don’t speak proper English since we speak a lot of slang.  I went to the west coast of the map, so I pretty much had to adapt to that way of living.”  


His String of Relationships 

     Every story has inspiration, and Coach Bernard was inspired by people in his lifetime, those people being his father, family, aunt, and a coach named Luther McCray in his younger school years.  Just like every story, there comes an obstacle. For Darrell, this was the murder of his brother and cousin during Darrell’s senior year of college in 2003.  

    He originally had NFL tryouts with a couple of teams, but he couldn’t do it because of the tragedy that took place that harmed him mentally. After a while, he healed and moved on as changed man, but that tragedy would inspire him towards being a coach later down the road. 

   After the completion of college, Darrell came back to Miami in 2004 and pursued a career in teaching and coaching. He was blessed with a great son named Dejon Bernard. Even though Mr. Bernard was not in a relationship with his son’s mom, she allowed him to raise his son in becoming the young man he is today.  

   He was always big on making the right choices, and being a single father helped him be a better role model. “One thing about me,” he said, “is that I’m very big on manhood, so my biggest thing was growing up as a young man in the world so now my child can pass on that trait to the next generation.” 

   As time goes on, a man changes his views of responsibility in a physical and mental way, and being a father is one of them. For Bernard, it really changed him knowing that he had to grow up fast, because there were lot of things that he did that he wouldn’t want his son to mimic, so being a father puts Darrell on a mindset on always giving positive advice and support when needed.     


His Modern Goal and Future 

   Football and other sports continued to shine in Darrell when he soon became a coach in Miami High 5 years prior to working here full time. Overtime, coaching in Miami High makes Bernard feel like he’s part of another big family. 

    Over his years at Miami High, he never faced any struggles. Everyone loved him with open arms and supported him like family would as he was also respected in the 5000 Role Models by fellow club sponsors Mr. Strickland and Mr. B. 

   The administration has also been supportive of him ever since he came, leading back towards his next goal. “I think with Mr. Valdes allowing me to do leadership duties, it can actually give me an idea on how to handle certain situations before becoming an administrator,” he said. 

   His inspiration nowadays mostly comes from his past students’ successes: those who managed to become NFL players, business owners, and successful people overall. Seeing them grow out of poverty and get out of the situations they were in make him grateful to see them grow in their own ways. 

   After his days of being a role model are over, his retirement plans are quieter and more peaceful. He doesn’t want to grow old and live in a populated city, but instead live more in the countryside where he’ll feel more happy.  


“Your Attitude is the KEY to success.”  

– Coach Darrell Bernard